5 World Wonders that You Need to See Before They are Gone Forever
While you are busy ticking off items on your bucket list and looking forward to your next getaway, did you know that there are many wonders of the planet Earth that are now at risk of being wiped off forever?Climate change and global warming are terms we have been hearing for over the last decade. An American ex-politician turned bestselling author and public speaker had been telling us about them (and even produced a documentary film). Even Leonardo DiCaprio advocates against them and numerous organisations have been reminding the human race to fight and work with them to slow their effects. And yes, they are not just some fad scientists talk about to earn funding. These phenomena are R-E-A-L.Not surprisingly though, many travel junkies have seized this sad but real opportunity to tick off items on their bucket list before it’s too late. In fact, there is a burgeoning trend called ‘Doom Tourism’ where people travel to places that are threatened to disappear whether by natural occurrences or man-made development before they cease to exist.If you are one of those who want to join the bandwagon (#YOLO, right?), here are some awe-inspiring treasures you need to see and visit now before they vanish in this lifetime:
The Great Barrier ReefHome to more than a thousand varieties of fish and ultrarich marine life, the Great Barrier Reef is once basking in all its glory. A favourite diving destination, it is a truly magnificent sight down under. But due to natural occurrences in the past decade, the largest coral reef in the world once considered as one of the world’s wonders, is sadly fast deteriorating. Today, it has been reported that 50% of the reef, which originally spans about 1680 miles of gorgeous marine spectacle, has now disappeared. Bleaching due to climate change is to be blamed. Bleached coral is pronounced dead and when it dies, an entire ecosystem around it also dies. Researchers believed that the Great Barrier Reef is irreversibly damaged by the year 2030 Facts about the Great Barrier Reef:
- It once was the largest living thing on Earth and is visible from outer space.
- There are 600 types of hard and soft coral once lived in the reef including countless marine creatures.
- About 10% of the world’s total fish species can be found just within the reef.
- It is believed that the reef is 20 million years old.
- The Great Barrier Reef is the size of 70 million football fields combined.
The EvergladesFrom Orlando stretching all the way to Florida Bay and the Keys, the Everglades is an interconnected wetlands 50 miles wide and 120 miles long. With a bird’s eye view, the Everglades is a feast to the eye, with its green and natural view. Its ecosystem is one of the most important in the world and serves as a subtropical home for thousands of plant and animal species and rare birds that are at risk of extinction. This is also where many citizens of Florida (one out of three) get their water supply. However, due to numerous natural disasters such as hurricane that occur in this part of America, pollution and other man-made destructions, many of the rare animals and plant species have been killed and is in danger to be gone incessantly.Facts about the Everglades:
- It is the only place in the world where the American Alligator and the American Crocodile co-exist.
- While often described as a swamp, it is actually a slow-moving river.
- Unlike most areas of the United States, the Everglades experiences two seasons–dry and wet, or summer and winter.
- In 1999, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) expected to take 20 to 30 years to complete. Through CERP, the massive Everglades drainage system will be reworked to imitate the natural functions of the entire system.
Taj MahalAn earthly remembrance of a man’s love to his wife, Taj Mahal is a famous tourist attraction in India. It is considered one of the most photographed sights in the world with its marble face, green gardens and towering spires. But as the song says, even the best falls down sometimes. Dense smog and horrible pollution have taken their toll in the once-pristine mausoleum. Today, Taj Mahal has started to look like an icky shade of yellow. These airborne impurities threaten not only structures but most importantly the entire population of the city of Agra. Aside from the heavy traffic (largely due to overpopulation), wood-burning crematoriums, smoke from neighbouring factories, the city has a growing problem with water. The Yamuna River is gradually drying risking Taj Mahal off its once-picturesque banks turning into a sea of mud in the near future.Facts about Taj Mahal:
- The Taj Mahal was built by 22,000 labourers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists.
- About a thousand elephants were used to transport heavy building materials during the construction that spanned two decades.
- The edifice is bounded on three sides by red stone walls. White marble was brought from Rajasthan, Afghanistan, Tibet and China.
- It was built as the final resting place for Mumtaz Mahal, the third and favourite wife of emperor Shah Jahan.
- The whole complex includes a large garden, a reflecting pool, a mosque and other adjacent mausoleums.
The AlpsWhen I think about Mary Poppins in The Sound of Music I always remember her singing with the Swiss Alps in the background. Its beauty on screen is as captivating as it is in real life. But due to global warming (the last twenty years has been the warmest in the history of the Earth), the glaciers that once were a sight to behold are fast receding. In 2013, the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network has monitored that 66 of the 82 glaciers around the Swiss Alps are melting due to increased temperature. Experts also say that by year 2100, most of the glaciers in the Alps will just be ebbed in the future past generation’s memory.Facts about The Alps:
- It is a range of mountains that form a crescent shape in Europe that covers Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Monaco.
- It is home to many glaciers, 13,000 species of vegetation and 30,000 species of wildlife.
- It is considered an important treasure of the European region as it provides sources of water for drinking and irrigation and power to over 500 power plants.
- It attracts approximately 120 million visitors annually.
- An estimated 40,000 to 80,000 men died in World War I due to avalanches on the Alps.
- The Alps have a rich resource of minerals which include copper, iron and gold.
The Dead SeaThe famous sea in the Bible that separates Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea has attracted millions of visitors for thousands of years due to its acclaimed numerous healing promises. However, due to its continuous drop in water level, this infamous sea is in danger of vanishing from the face of the earth. According to the Israeli Geological Institute of Limnological Research, the situation is caused by more water flowing out of the sea than into it from the nearby Jordan River. The said agency has estimated an astounding drop of more than 131ft (40 metres) since the 1950s.Facts about Dead Sea:
- It is the Earth’s lowest elevation on land.
- It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean.
- Fish and plants cannot survive its highly salty water, thus its name.
- You can float in its waters because it has a density of 1.24kg/litre.
- The minerals found in its waters were used as balms for Egyptian mummification and fertilisers.